Wherein I discuss the Nigma Box 5 Year Plan, The PlayStation Plus-ersing, a delay to a delay, the end of an electronic era, the dastardly fools day, and how Dragalia really can’t be dead, guys!
Hoya, you jovial giblets! Tax season is upon me yet again, so expect content to… remain basically the same for the time being. Yeah, my output is pretty pitiful all things considered, but it sure as sugar ain’t gonna get better as my brilliant yet disorganized boss keeps throwing work at me. This past week you got my Max’s Big Bust 2 review and Weiss Vice: Glory Unto Genocide, but I currently have dinny bupkis in the pipeline.
My plan is to tackle a Student Transfer Scenario before the end of April, then review Kirby Discovery (I’m using the Japanese name because it’s cooler). Afterwards, I will tackle the whole ‘publishing my stuff on Amazon’ thing (deadline 5/15), then work on Natalie Rambles About TSF (deadline 5/25), then work on the first one or two chapters of The Dominance of Abigale Quinlan. And then it’s time for my annual re:Dreamer review (deadline 6/03).
I’m hoping that my productivity can go up during the summer, as my work schedule will be a lot more spotty, but I cannot promise anything. …That being said, I hereby promise that I will release the following things on the specified dates, or die trying:
- TSF Series #004-3: End of Service will be released on September 30, 2022
- The Dominance of Abigale Quinlan will be released on November 18, 2022
- Verde’s Doohickey 2.0 – Bizarre Summer 2015 will be released on August 15, 2023
- Psycho Shatter 1985: The Day After will be released on November 18, 2023
- Verde’s Doohickey – Session Extra.0, Extra.1, Extra.2, and Extra.3 will be released in late 2023
- The Malice of Abigale Quinlan – Encounter Unlimited will be released on January 20, 2024
- Psycho Bullet Festival – Episode Alternative will be released on April 27, 2024
- Psycho Shatter 1988 Gaiden: Black Vice X Weiss Vice will be released on November 18, 2024
- Psycho Shatter 2000: Black Vice Mania will be released on December 11, 2025
- Psycho Shatter 2001: Weiss Vice Omake will be released in December 2026
- Psycho Shatter Alternative: Kaede ♥ Senpai ~Kiwami~ will be released in March 2027.
Anyway, that is my five year plan. Please send all dochy to 18007753636, routing number 07051996. If you get that reference, help yourself to some of J.D.’s donuts. They’s dope.
…Nat-Nat needs to lay off the copium. Also known as her great grandmama’s weed drank.
I was not able to find any acquisition news this week, except for a story I missed about Netflix acquiring mobile game developer Boss Fight Entertainment. Which means that there is no Acquisition Rundown segment for this week, but I would like to highlight how this segment had an 8 week streak. That’s impressive, and it bodes ill for the future. This was just Q1, and now that the fiscal years are closing up, who knows how many more acquisitions are on the horizon? …The answer is at least 30.
After being reported on by Bloomberg back in December, Sony announced that they are changing PlayStation Plus into a tiered subscription service. One that combines the existing PlayStation Plus subscription with the PlayStation Now streaming service, and introduces the ability for players to both download and stream a collection of legacy titles for PS1, PS2, and PSP. As is always the case, the devil’s in the details, and the three tiers look a little something like this:
- PlayStation Plus Essential for $60/year: This is the current PlayStation Plus membership. It gives users access to basic online functionality, discounts, 2 bonus titles distributed every month, and a collection of 20 of the most prolific PlayStation 4 titles.
- PlayStation Plus Extra for $100/year: This tier includes everything from Essential, but includes access to a downloadable library of “up to” 400 PS4 and PS5 games. Which is a very strange way to denote the size of a collection.
- PlayStation Plus Premium for $120/year: This tier gives subscribers access to everything from Extra, in addition to a second library of “up to” 340 titles. These titles include PS3 games available via streaming (presumably the current PS Now line-up), along with select PS1, PS2, and PSP games that can be streamed or downloaded. Oh, and the subscription will also feature time-limited game trials, because I guess we’re back to paying for demos.
In addition to these services, PlayStation is also sneakily offering PlayStation Plus Deluxe, which is described as a less expensive version of Premium, but without any game streaming capability. It would probably be the most popular tier due to how ‘okay’ PlayStation Now streaming has been over the years, but Sony is only offering this subscription in “select markets.”
Overall, I am glad that Sony is at least doing something to preserve their legacy here, and I think that this membership has the potential to be a major value to people who diligently play on PlayStation consoles. However, the way this was announced, via a basic blog post, without any indication of what games would be on these libraries, makes it hard to get excited or interested in their offerings. Maybe they’re just waiting to reveal ‘the list’ until sometime before June.
Now, the biggest question about ‘the list’ was if Sony intended on releasing their first party games on PlayStation plus day one, similar to how Microsoft releases all of their first-party titles on Game Pass. Well, in a GameIndustry.biz interview, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan made it pretty clear that he thinks that approach would not earn PlayStation enough revenue to continue to produce titles of the same quality they have been producing. Which… makes sense. To release first-party titles as part of PlayStation Plus would mean cannibalizing retail sales, and Sony probably wants their titles to thrive for two years or so before adding them to a PlayStation Plus vault.
Honestly, my only firm gripe about this is that there will likely be no way for people to buy PS1, PS2, and PSP games on PlayStation consoles… but ePSXe, PCSX2, and PPSSPP are all pretty darn good nowadays. So I’m not too worried about preserving the libraries of these three systems.
And while the lack of Vita games is a bit… odd, I’m guessing they will add Vita games to the service in 2 or 3 years. It’s common for subscription services like this to hold out on key features until a few years in. Or maybe I’m just being optimistic…
Speaking of optimism, Nintendo has dashed the hopes of many a Nintendo influencer by delaying The Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to spring 2023, six years after the release of its predecessor. None of which is all too surprising, as Zelda games typically go through incredibly lengthy development cycles, and the developers are looking to expand their scope a fair bit with this title, with its focus on sky-based exploration. While I’m sure this will upset some who view the history of video game releases as a narrative and want it to be as perfect as possible, I’m more indifferent, as I’m probably not going to play this game.
…Now is a good opportunity to mention that I did not particularly jive with the original BOTW. And the more I look back on it, my issue was more that I constantly felt like I was not given enough rewards for my exploration. There were too many fussy and nebulous doodads that I had to farm to make gear. Koroks have negligible returns once you get about 100. The game is a way too stingy with upgrades at first. And the whole ‘clear four trials to get a minor upgrade’ thing was pretty garbage in my book. Also, when you give me a weapon with unlimited usage, I will always treat the unlimited use weapon as the default, even if it sucks. And I will only use the limited use weapon when I have extra weapons, or ammo, at my feet.
Assuming I did not commit enough heresy, I also want to admit that I had far more fun during my 40 hours with Genshin Impact than I did with my 70 hours with BOTW. Because I felt like I better understood the world, because combat was not filled with (as much) resource management, and because there was more story for me to engage with.
Back in January, it was announced that E3 2022 would be another digital-only event due to the whole pandemic thing. Then, a few weeks later, industry insider Jeff Grubb mentioned that E3 2022 might have been canceled. At the time, I took this story with a grain of salt, while also mostly believing it. For as much as E3 is and has been ‘gamer Christmas,’ it was a show that has steadily become more irrelevant as studios have struggled to maintain pre-COVID development timelines, and how easy it has become for publishers to host their own online showcases. I have said that I do not think the industry needs E3, and I stand by that notion.
As such, you can imagine my lack of surprise when I heard that E3 2022 was canceled. The ESA gave no reason for this cancellation and simply stated that they will instead put their resources in bringing E3 back as a physical event in 2023 (assuming the pandemic finally dies down by then, which it probably won’t).
It is easy for me to dismiss the assurance that E3 will return in a prior year as a performative gesture, and view this as the true death of E3, and it is a death that I am not sad to see. The people behind E3 were planning on basically destroying the event with their original plans for E3 2020, and let’s not forget the time E3 leaked the contact info of thousands of people.
Combine this with how I have never heard someone describe E3 was a healthy, organized, or good work environment for the press, and I have to say… let it die.
Speaking of things that are not very fun, this past week was April Fools. A pseudo holiday that I have become heavily soured on over the past few years. Mostly because it is an excuse for (primarily Japanese) game developers, to announce or present interesting, promising, or otherwise unique concepts. Only to then write it off as ‘just a prank, bro.’
This year was no different, and the queen of these foul gaffs was, without question, the release of a Princess Connect Re:Drive auto chess game. Yes, a playable game, only available from April 1st to April 8th, with what has to be millions of dollars invested into it. It has unique, slick, semi-chibi 3D models for many recognizable characters. Has its own combat system. Has thousands of unique animations as part of fully animated in-game cinematics. And of course the game has its own custom 2D art and environments.
Graphically, it looks excellent for a mobile game, and just looking at it… makes me more than a little salty that Cygames’ first major mobile 3D outing, Dragalia Lost, is getting shut down. But Cygames has the resources to release this as a lark. Thanks. Thanks a lot.
…This auto chess game, Princess Connect: Grand Master, is totally going to become its own thing in a year, isn’t it? And it’s gonna make $100 million once they put the horse women in it… If Dragalia Lost had the horse women, it wouldn’t be on the chopping block.
…Actually, screw it. Let’s talk about the impending shut down of Dragalia Lost again. This past week, Dragalia Lost released its final two adventurers, began its final event, and saw its final This Month in Dragalia Lost post. The sense of impending doom has continued to linger throughout the community, but they have remained largely positive in spite of things, thanking the game and reminiscing about it while making archival efforts. Efforts that ensure that at least a good chunk of Dragalia Lost will be preserved, even though I’m dubious that the community can ever reverse engineer the game.
However, part of me is getting a bit… skeptical that a reverse engineering project is strictly necessary, given the current trajectory of Dragalia Lost. With the end of service announcement, Dragalia Lost’s revenue is bound to diminish and… I’m honestly surprised that players are even still able to spend money on the title. However, despite this, the game is still getting significant content in the upcoming months.
- The campaign will receive an additional four monthly updates, featuring new cutscenes, maps, bosses, background music, and a “suitably epic” conclusion to the story.
- Four more endgame bosses will be added over the next four months, including Primal Zodiark’s Trial, Primal Mercury’s Trial, Primal Jupiter’s Trial, and Legend difficulty of Surtr’s Devouring Flame.
- The Kaleidoscape roguelite mode is getting an additional content and rebalance update.
- While there will be no additional adventurers added to Dragalia Lost, the developers have said nothing about new playable dragons, or mana spirals for existing adventurers.
If something were shutting down, and set to go offline in the upcoming months, I find it hard to believe that the developers would go all out like this. Now, this would represent a great opportunity to research the history of gacha game shut downs to find parallels and form a possible narrative of why this is happening. Unfortunately, I have no idea how I can go about researching something like this.
In gacha communities, knowledge is so insular that it is hard to learn about a subject without directly asking someone from a community about it. And while I could go out and ask gacha refugees about their war stories, I don’t want to do that. However, my general impression is that shutdowns follow periods of radio silence as updates become less frequent, and that gacha games fizzle out more than they go out in a blaze of glory, like Dragalia Lost is doing.
Maybe this is just because Nintendo/Cygames like the project a lot… but if they like it that much, then are they really going to take it offline and make the game completely unplayable? Or could they be planning an offline update?
You could say that ‘if the game was going to get an offline update, they would have announced it by now. But… I don’t think that’s how that works. They did not announce that new endgame quests were going to be added when EoS kicked in, and everybody assumed that they would not be added to the game. After the final content update goes live in July, it is entirely possible for the developers to announce that the game will get an offline update. …And that is all I’m saying. Also, the game is going to end with the protagonist creating a new world of new possibilities, which really does not mesh with the idea of the game being rendered unplayable.
Also, I bought the Dragalia Lost artbook before it went out of stock at CDJapan, and it just arrived this past Friday! The joys of international $25 shipping! Now, I’m not a big art book fan, so you might be wondering why I bought this. Well, I bought it because I wanted a physical representation of one of my favorite games of all time, and I like artbooks more than CDs. Heck, I don’t even own a CD player outside of my old Xbox 360.
Header image comes from Journey of An Alraune by MassManiac, because I thought it was a gleefully absurd image both in and out of context. This part of the ongoing comic is currently only available via the artist’s Patreon account, but… I guess I’m a shitty patron. Look, I just wanted to share a single panel in an attempt to urge you to give this Cool Outstanding Lord of Uniquely Raw Style $3 a month or whatever you’re willing to drop for fly ish like this. Also, he made an actually good April Fools comic, so there’s that.
Anyway, this panel I liked so darn much also had nipples. I thought about using a ‘basic bitch black bar,’ but I decided to be more ambitious and use the logo for Oppais, which was an April Fool’s joke for the 2016 Vita exclusive, Uppers, from Marvelous Entertainment. Uppers was a notorious flop, but if the developers had populated the game with girls and went all in on the lesbian overtones, like the original joke banner implied, then it would have probably done WAY better.
Honestly, the process of extracting and creating the logo was a stark reminder of just how bad I am at image editing. I started by upscaling the original low resolution image using Waifu2x Snowshell, but then I had to go through the process of extracting the logo, clearing away the pixelated ‘dust’ and removing the shadow effect applied to the logo by trimming its edges using the wand and eraser tools in Paint.net. It took me at least 30 minutes, and I know there are better ways, I just don’t know what those ways are.
For my purposes however, this was easily overkill, as I shrunk the logo down to be 60 pixels wide… but now I can plaster the Oppais logo on more stuff going forward! You know what that means? Oppais forever, motherfuckers! Oppais forevermore!!!